As a protocol professional, what is the most significant challenge you faced related to COVID-19?
As a 2001 graduate, and having come back in 2020 for the Protocol Officer training, the school and staff have played a valuable role in my life and in the success of my business.
I believe that we all had to “pivot.” I’ve been an etiquette teacher for twenty years and I had just begun to add the “protocol” side of my business and had completed the Protocol Officer training just as COVID was beginning.
There ended up being a silver lining in what I thought would be a downside to the pandemic. Though there were not many events for me to help with, there were so many people connected to The Protocol School of Washington who gave me advice about what to do until we came through this. Because of COVID, events have been sparse so the chance for me to help and learn from others during this time was really non-existent. What I could do was join new organizations, find a good mentor, and I re-read all of my workbooks from the Protocol Officer training and made questions for my mentor and for others, and began writing a column for a local magazine—a column that educates people on all things Etiquette and Protocol. I also took this opportunity to teach etiquette classes online. I realized that I was not the only one using this downtime to gain further knowledge in a certain area.
If you had to define a protocol officer in one word, what would it be and why?
I’m not sure if this is a word…..but, I always “over-prepare.” When planning any type of event you must have plan A, B, C, and D. You must think through every scenario and its outcome and you must be prepared and have your staff prepared for each situation.
What is your most valuable protocol tool or resource?
My most valuable resources are The Protocol School of Washington alumni network and the PDI-POA (Protocol and Diplomacy International-Protocol Officers Association). Both groups are invaluable to me as far as support, networking, advice, and opportunities to grow in my profession
What piece of advice would you share with a new protocol professional, or someone who wants to take their career in protocol to the next level?
The best advice I can give is to take every opportunity you can to learn from those who have been doing this for years. Take the volunteer job with a big event, shadow one of your mentors for the day or the week, and never stop taking opportunities to learn more. Last, always show up early because a protocol professional must be ten steps ahead in everything we do.
Visit Jennifer's website to learn more: https://www.polishedpeyton.com/.